Friday, November 30, 2012

US energy department awards $14 million to eight disruptive solar research projects

US energy department awards $14 million to eight disruptive solar research projects

30.11.2012: The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded a total of more that $14 million to eight solar research projects. The projects represent transformational and disruptive energy technologies that are still too young to attract private-sector investment. The largest award, $3.6 million, went to the Georgia Institute of Technology, which is developing a high-efficiency solar reactor to produce solar fuel. Meanwhile, Microlink Devices received $3.3 million to develop high-efficiency solar cells that use crystal layers to capture concentrated sunlight, and the California Institute of Technology received $2.4 million to develop a device that focuses and splits sunlight into individual color bands to improve solar cell conversion efficiency. Otherlab Inc. received $1.6 million to develop an inexpensive method to reflect sunlight onto a solar tower using small mirrors; the University of California, Santa Cruz received $1.6 million to develop an innovative optical device for harvesting concentrated sunlight into optical fibers, solar cells and thermal storage devices; and Glint received $0.5 million to develop a solar concentrator that can capture the full amount of available sunlight regardless of the sun’s position. The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) received a total of nearly $1.7 million for two projects, a solar thermal electric generator capable of converting heat to electricity and a plastic solar cell technology that takes advantage of a larger-than-normal part of the solar spectrum. Source: US Department of Energy

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Thursday, November 29, 2012

FW: Largest wind farm in Canada commissioned in Quebec - Pennenergy

This is an example of why we have difficulty getting GE to engage resources
on AE and have had to resort to brute tactics to get what we need.

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November 28, 2012
By PennEnergy Editorial Staff
Source: GE

Cartier Wind Energy announced the operation of its Gros-Morne Phase II wind
project, powered by 74 GE (NYSE: GE) 1.5-77 wind turbines and located in the
Gaspésie region of Québec. The amount of energy generated by the Gros-Morne
wind farm can power approximately 20,000 homes in the province of Québec.
Gros-Morne I and II combined is the largest wind farm in Canada with a total
output of 211.5 megawatts (MW).
GE is supplying 593, 1.5-77 wind turbines and associated services for wind
energy projects in Québec, including Gros-Morne. The projects were awarded
as part of Hydro-Québec's 2004 request for proposals (RFP) to supply the
province with 1,000 MW of new wind power capacity by 2012. GE's local supply
chain manufacturing and supplier partners have been integral to the
fulfillment of the province's local content requirements.
Hydro-Québec has purchased the energy under a 20-year power purchase
agreement. Cartier Wind Energy is a joint venture between TransCanada and
"Cartier énergie éolienne wishes to acknowledge the exemplary work by the GE
technicians in the success of the Gros-Morne-Sainte-Madeleine wind farm. You
have played an important role in order to deliver the wind farm around 25
days before the date of the commissioning contract with Hydro-Québec. This
result demonstrates your professionalism and your commitment," said Robert
Guillemette, CEO of Cartier Wind Energy.
The Gros-Morne project includes a four-year GE operations and maintenance
service contract with Cartier. GE has more than 50 wind technicians and
engineers in Canada providing expertise on parts, maintenance, upgrades and
long-term service contracts for a fleet of more than 1,400 units. The
company's regional wind services parts warehouse is located in Toronto for
fast and reliable distribution throughout the country.
"We have proven our ability to execute major projects with local content
requirements in Québec and are positioned for the upcoming 700-MW RFP
expected to be launched in 2013," said Guy Crepeau, region sales manager for
GE's renewable energy business in Canada. "We are committed to working with
developers, including Cartier, as we continue to develop advanced technology
to harness Canada's abundant wind resources."
Canada is among the world leaders in the production and use of renewable
energy. The country's installed wind base is set to nearly double by 2014,
to an expected 10 gigawatts of capacity.

For the most up to date and in-depth information on the Wind Generation
market visit PennEnergy's comprehensive Research area to access industry
focused Reports.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

FW: Massive Solar Tower Plant Greenlighted for Arizona

11/26/2012 02:42 PM      ShareThis
Massive Solar Tower Plant Greenlighted for Arizona News

SolarReserve now has the green light to begin construction of its
biggest concentrating solar project (CSP) yet, a 150 megawatt (MW)
project in Arizona.

The Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, Arizona unanimously approved
the permits for the Crossroads Solar Energy Project, which also includes 65
MW of solar PV. 

The project will create more than 450 solar jobs during the two years
of construction and about 5000 direct and indirect jobs that affect the
supply chain and supporting activities.

Located on privately owned and actively cultivated land, the solar plant
will supply peak electricity to 100,000 homes in Arizona and California. 

It's bigger than SolarReserve's flagship project, the 110 MW Crescent Dunes
Solar Energy Project in Nevada that's under construction. Both plants
are based around a solar tower that enables energy storage.

Cresent Dunes is the biggest solar tower project in the
world. The 540-foot tall solar tower is finished and the full project comes
online in 2013. That project has spurred sales in  equipment, materials and
services across 20 states in the US.

SolarReserve's molten salt power tower technology allows 10 hours of solar
energy to be stored each day and released on demand, even after darkness.
That allows concentrating solar to completely replace conventional power
plants, such as coal , natural gas or nuclear.

Construction on Crossroads will begin late next year or in early 2014, with
projected commercial operation in 2016.

Founded in 2007, Santa Monica, California-based SolarReserve develops
large-scale concentrating solar projects and has a 4000 MW development
portfolio, mostly in the US and Europe. It recently started construction on
two 75 MW concentrating PV projects in South Africa, in one of the largest
renewable energy transactions in that country.

Learn more about the Crossroads project:

Website: http:
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FW: California's Historic Carbon Auction: Results Are In

11/20/2012 04:08 PM      ShareThis
California's Historic Carbon Auction: Results Are In News

Last week, California held its first auction of greenhouse gas pollution
allowances, and the results are in.

Even though companies ended up paying just a few cents over the minimum
price for each ton of carbon, the state pulled in  $290 million in revenue.

23.1 million allowances for 2013 were sold at $10.09 each - the minimum
price was $10. It also sold 14% of allowances for 2015.

Despite the low price paid, the auction demonstrated the start of a
competitive market, because all allowances for next year are sold out.

After the announcement of the auction results, some firms said they would
now be willing to invest in clean energy projects in the Golden State.

"This does make me want to invest more in California and send more of my
companies there," said Robert Day, partner at Black Coral Capital, a private
equity firm that focuses on the clean-tech and renewable-energy sectors.

350 companies participated in the auction, which own about 600 facilities in
the state.

To get the cap-and-trade program off the ground, California decided to
give 90% of allowances for free to polluters. If they exceed the carbon cap,
however, they will have to buy credits.

It's kind of amazing that $10 buys the right to emit one metric ton of
greenhouse gases, but as an example, cement maker CalPortland expects to
emit a million tons of greenhouse gases this year. A typical passenger
vehicle emits about 5 metric tons per year.

Learn more about California's cap-and-trade program:

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Be Alerted: ALEC Prioritizes Roll-back of US Renewable Energy For Next Year

11/06/2012 11:27 AM      ShareThis
Be Alerted: ALEC Prioritizes Renewable Energy For Next Year News

Regardless of who wins today's elections, conservative groups and their
fossil fuel industry backers will keep working to crush the renewable energy
industry. They will be greatly assisted, of course, if more Republicans win
elections on the state and federal levels.

ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), the notorious right-wing group
that develops model legislation, which legislators then introduce across the
country, is launching an all-out effort to repeal state Renewable Portfolio
Standards (RPS) through model legislation, the "Electricity Freedom Act."

They plan to make repealing state RPSs a "high priority" for the coming

The bill is written and funded by an ALEC task force consisting of
representatives from major oil, gas and power companies, including BP,
Chevron, ExxonMobil, Koch, and Shell.

As most of you know, these standards - in place in 29 states and Wash DC -
require utilities to source a certain percentage of their energy from
renewables by a target date. The percentage varies depending on the state.
The RPS is among the most important methods for increasing the share of
renewable energy in the US.

ALEC says it opposes the concept of RPS because it is essentially a tax on
consumers and mandates some energy sources over others.

The bill says that wind and solar power are expensive and unreliable, and
that forcing utilities to use renewables threatens electric grid reliability
and will increase the cost of doing business through rate increases or
higher taxes.

"Forcing business, industry, and ratepayers to use renewable energy through
a government mandate will increase the cost of doing business and push
companies to do business with other states or nations, thereby decreasing
American competitiveness," the bill states.

ALEC points to studies that claim electric rates will rise up to 37% by 2025
in Minnesota, for example, because of its RPS. Who conducted the study?
ALEC's right-wing sister organization, American Tradition Institute. Earlier
this year, a memo uncovered that group's planned national PR campaign to
turn public opinion against renewable energy.

This line of logic is false.

Studies find that state RPSs have not significantly affected electricity
rates between 2000-2010. Instead, these policies lead to cleaner air,
economic development, a more resilient electrical grid and greater resource
diversity, which reduces risk to consumers by not relying on any one energy

Actually, states with RPS report the costs of renewable energy are dropping.
In its annual report on the impact of Michigan's RPS (which voters may raise
today), the Michigan Public Service Commission said wind energy was almost a
third cheaper than buying electricity from a new coal plant. Utility Xcel
got a similar deal in Colorado.

ALEC's uses faulty assumptions. That "coal and natural gas prices will be
very low and stable over time, and they don't count any environmental
benefit to society from renewables," Richard Caperton from the Center for
American Progress told Midwest Energy News.

Minnesota's largest utilities say they would add wind power regardless of
the state's mandate, reports Midwest Energy News.

Although ALEC has lost a slew of corporate supporters this past year after
they were finally exposed, 2000 state lawmakers remain members. Among the
raft of right-wing legislation ALEC is responsible for are the voter
suppression laws that have taken hold across the country this year.

ALEC anti-environmental agenda includes dismantling state Renewable
Portfolio Standards, pressuring the EPA to designate palm oil as a renewable
fuel, pushing for loopholes in disclosure of natural gas fracking chemicals,
and killing regional climate cap-and-trade pacts, along with eliminating
clean air and water regulations, and even trying to turn public lands over
to corporations.

ALEC's goal is "to do one thing, and that's to maximize the profits of
fossil fuel industry and eliminate renewables from competition. I don't see
where the freedom is in that," warns Doug Klopp of Common Cause. Advocates
of renewable energy should be worried.

Read ALEC Exposed: Warming Up to Climate Change

Read ALEC Exposed: A Nationwide Blueprint for the Rightwing Takeover

Visit to learn more and find ALEC-influenced bills in your
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nanoparticles convert solar energy into steam with high efficiency

PV grid parity will soon be the norm rather than the exception

PV grid parity will soon be the norm rather than the exception

22.11.2012: Photovoltaics (PV) will soon reach grid parity with residential electricity tariffs in many markets around the world, according the latest report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In its “Renewable Power Generation Costs” report, IRENA concludes: “PV costs are declining rapidly due to high learning rates for PV modules and the very rapid deployment currently being experienced. If these trends continue, grid parity with residential electricity tariffs will soon be the norm, rather than the exception.” IRENA also notes that PV has an advantage over other generation technologies because of its flexibility: “Once the domestic installation market is developed, solar PV installations can be ramped up rapidly to meet policy goals or electricity sector needs, no other power generation technology shares this flexibility.” The report finds that the levelized cost of electricity for wind, concentrating solar power and some biomass technologies is also declining rapidly. Hydropower, however, still offers the cheapest electricity of any renewable energy technology. Source: International Renewable Energy Agency

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy